TLDR; Care deeply about your online reputation and take action!
Social proof produces one of the highest levels of conversion. We see this phenomenon in retail when there's a "buying frenzy" and people are acting irrationally on the storeroom floor, but it also happens online. Why?
Two reasons: Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) and the desire to avoid a "buying mistake".
Today, buyers use testimonials/recommendations (like Nextdoor) as well as 3rd party ratings systems (like Google Business or Amazon's review system) to help reduce the likelihood, at least in their mind, of making a buying mistake.
We know these things to be true: ✓ Consumers use the Internet to research almost every product or service category over 90% of the time.
✓ The shear number of available products/services creates buyer confusion / concern / reticence (an estimated 80% of shopping carts are abandoned, left un-purchased).
✓ Buyers rely on the opinions of others to feel more comfortable with making a purchasing decision (80% say they trust an online review as much as a personal referral).
We are also starting to learn just how deeply a negative review and deter a shopper. One study found that a medical practice could lose up to 360 patients a year with one poor review!
If you accept that our online reputation is of critical importance to your digital growth (and you should), there's a few things you can do to improve it. I preface this by saying that we should not practice manipulation of review systems, rather take an active role in making sure our happy clients get their voices heard!
1) Claim your Google Business & Yelp Business pages and develop them out. You'd be surprised how many fail to do this first step. Google will often list your business online without your awareness!
2) Install mechanisms that give unsatisfied clients a means to provide feedback - i.e. "vent". Unhappy clients usually feel helpless and turn to leaving bad (and detailed) reviews at a much higher rate than a happy clients will leave a good one! Give them a way to voice their opinion without making a public display. Most just want to be heard. Bonus: Provide a pathway to address issues had by unsatisfied customers and they may turn out to be your best clients.
3) Create a system that fast-tracks your happy clients to your review your business by making it easy! Most customers are silently satisfied, which means their expectations were met or exceeded in the buying process, yet are not compelled to discuss it publicly. We need to provide both a reason and an easy method for these people to express this as it's the most accurate representation of our client experience.
4) Be active with your reviewers, positive or negative. Responding authentically and professionally helps humanize your organization, show that you listen to clients that had a poor experience and have gratitude for those that had a positive one.
5) Get video testimonials: A written testimonial on your website is fine, but isn't enough. Most understand that text on your website is not a "verified system" and can be manipulated. A genuine video testimonial from a satisfied customer is one of the most powerful forces in marketing.
Get your free Google marketing kit here: https://marketingkit.withgoogle.com
If you need help in building your online reputation, check out our process at www.BecauseMarketing.net/online-reputation